Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cianciana: 23 Febbraio 2012

The road from Eraclea Minoa to Cianciana is a beautiful snake sliding up and down hillsides and through rugged and gentle terrain. The views are spectacular. As are the scenes you come upon along the way.

We parked the car in about the same place we did on our last visit. On the western edge of town. As we walked into the main piazza near city hall there was a sign pasted to the wall with my name on it, "RE". We think it was for a service of some sort and it was just two hours before we had arrived. The church where the event was held was just across the piazza from where we were standing reading this sign. So we headed over. Went in. Nothing seemed to be going on. Joey asked someone who was coming out if she knew about the sign. We showed it to her. If just so happened that this person was a retired English teacher named Pina (her last name is Garubia, I think). What luck! We asked her about any Re's in town and she took us down the main street to a ground floor apartment where she introduced us to a Re. It seemed, from their conversation and Pina's translation that there was a Calogero that they knew but he had never left Sicily. We walked back to the piazza with Pina and I gave her my contact information and said goodbye.

Joey and I then walked around town hunting "Vendesi" signs. Down from the piazza was a now restored ancient well which was just a construction site in 2007 on our last visit to Cianciana. Also a museum with WiFi connection! Up the hill behind the piazza we found another park facing the western mountains and a view out to the sea on the far horizon. We were really surprised at how visible the sea out on horizon was from this far inland. Cianciana must be very high up. Near here we discovered another well with horse heads as the waterspouts, but it was not operational.

We walked deeper and higher and came across another park or perhaps a shrine that had a commanding 360 degree panorama view. To the southwest to the long horizon of the Mediterranean Sea and the valleys and mountains in all other directions. A stunning view!

We wound our way back down to the piazza in the waning light of the setting sun.

On the piazza people were gathering. We went into Clock Tower Cafe for a couple, "MorRETTI", said the girl behind the bar. We sat a a little table in the corner of this very nice pub-like bar and watched people come and go. Seeming as curious about us as we were about them. Any Re's in here? It was getting late. Joey said, "So, let's see what kind of restaurants they have here, if we are going to think about buying a place here." It does have this nice bar. So she asked the girl behind the bar for a suggestion. Past the Banco, secondo a destra. "Pizza?" "Si". We followed the directions and found a arched passageway to a courtyard entry. Beautiful but it looked really elegant. We went back out the passageway. Maybe there is another. We walked around so more then, needing to replenish my Advil (the Italian brand is "Moment") we went into a Farmacia. There we asked again and I told the girl there that my Gradfather was a Re born in Cianciana. Joey asked them to write down the name, "Halykos". There was another one but this one was, "motto buono" and had a great setting. So back we went.

The well at the top of the courtyard had clear water in it. We were warmly welcomed by a man and young woman. It was still early for dinner by local standards so we had our pick of the tables. It was very a beautifully restored building. We went down into a room that with a couple of tables. We had the room to ourselves. The waitress spoke as little English as we do Italian but we communicated. Ordered dinner and told her we were Americans visiting the birthplace of my Grandfather Calogero Re. She said her Grandmother was a Re, Antonia Re. You can imagine how my mind was now racing. How could I find out more?

Anyway we had a great dinner. Fabulous pizza! Wonderfully comfortable place!

The man who welcomed us earlier came in with order and I asked him about the building. He said it was originally a factory were they prepared foods for market (I think maybe a bazaar), it was 700 years old, Arabic origin. I told him the best could that it was beautifully restored.

The young woman was busy so I never had a chance to ask her more questions. But when we went up to pay I mentioned to the man, who I was and where I was from and my connection to Cianciana and he said his name was Andrea di Giannone and that he was named after his Grandfather Andrea Re. His Grandmother is Maria Antonia Re and that my Grandfather Calogero Re is the brother of his Grandfather Andrea Re!

We talked a bit more standing there at the counter. It took them seven years to restore this building and then open the "Cortile Halykos" restaurant and pizzeria. They live upstairs.

We told him that we would like to maybe return next year and rent an apartment in Cianciana. He said he could help with that and that the family has a B&B. We exchanged addresses and emails and parted smiles all around!

An amazing evening!

When I get back I'm going to update the genealogy chart that Nancy did and add all the new* Re's in America and send it to Andrea.

1 comment:

  1. Update: We have much more accurate information about our family in Cianciana and New York and Canada now thanks to Renato Re and Onofrio Re Perzia! I will be making some corrections and additions to this post very soon!


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